Canadian academic holds workshops at the Montefiore Home

April 3, 2012 by Sarah Hanniffy
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Professor Harvey Max Chochinov, the eminent Canadian palliative care researcher who developed the model of Dignity Therapy, has presented an interactive workshop at Sydney’s Montefiore Home exploring the role of Dignity Therapy in Aged Care and Palliative Care.

An internationally renowned speaker, Professor Chochinov was visiting Sydney as a keynote speaker for the recent Whole Person Care National Symposium.

Dr Judith Lacey, Professor Harvey Max Chochinov and Jeannine Lew, Manager of Professional Services

Professor Chochinov is the distinguished Professor of Psychiatry from Manitoba, Canada, developer of Dignity Conserving Care, co- editor of the Oxford Handbook of Psychiatry and Palliative Care, and the Journal of Palliative and Supportive care. In addition to over 200 publications, his book Dignity Therapy: Final Words for Final Days was recently published by Oxford University Press. Dr Judith Lacey, Palliative Care Physician and co-convener of the Symposium together with Jeannine Lew, Manager of Professional Services at Montefiore organised for Professor Chochinov to provide an invaluable 3 hour session. Dr Lacey had facilitated Prof Chochinov’s two visits to Sydney over the past years, in a move to introduce his important work on Dignity conserving care and his approach to care for the whole person to the wider health care community. Those in attendance on Friday were over 60 health care practitioners and administrators from or associated with the Home who were interested in the topic Dignity Therapy in Aged care and Palliative Care.

Roni Faktor, Director of Foundation said, ‘to say that it was a privilege to hear a speaker of his calibre and to see the generous way he shared his time and his insight, is an understatement.’ Dignity therapy is a brief, individualised psychotherapeutic intervention, thats purpose is to decrease suffering, enhance quality of life and bolster a sense of meaning, purpose and dignity in people approaching the last stages of their lives. ‘The little work that has been done in this area tends to focus on palliative care and individuals who are imminently dying,’ Professor Chochinov explains. ‘On the other hand far less attention has been paid to the spectrum of dignity-related concerns of elderly people as they move through their final stages of life.’ Recent published studies support the feasibility and potential benefit for the frail elderly. Those who had the opportunity to attend the forum were able to see how valuable the Professor’s insights were and how they will greatly benefit models of care that are the cornerstone of the Montefiore Home.

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